Photographs by Associated Press
Alabama NCAA college football player Minkah Fitzpatrick speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Sunday, July 16, 2017
There were no real surprises when the SEC released the media's picks for where the 14 teams will be in the standings when the season ends.
Alabama got 217 votes to win the SEC.. Others tallied 26, including someone who picked the Arkansas Razorbacks to win the SEC West and the SEC championship.
That was not a surprise. That was a joke.
Do understand the media is riding a winning streak of one. Since expansion in 1992, the media correctly picked the winner six times. Once was last year, when it didn't go out on a limb and pick Alabama, which just happens to be the best football program in the country.
The longest media winning streak was two. That's been done twice, way back in 1994-1995 when they correctly picked Florida, then in 2007 when LSU was chosen and won, and in 2008 it was Florida again.
In 2014, Alabama was chosen and won, and again in 2016.
In 2015, Auburn, the defending SEC champion, was picked to win it but finished seventh.
Alabama has great coaching and great players, a pretty deadly combo. The Crimson Tide are to college football what Bonnie and Clyde were to bank robbing -- undefeated unless ambushed.
Alabama should be picked every year until Nick Saban retires and Mike Shula returns.
The Hogs were not the only SEC West team to be honored by some homers. Auburn got 13 votes to win the division and LSU 4.
Georgia is favored to win the East (but finished behind Auburn and Alabama to win the SEC title) getting 138 first-place votes. Florida was next with 96, Tennessee got 3, South Carolina was a happy-hour hit getting 5 votes and someone, somewhere picked Vanderbilt.
None of that is surprising -- funny maybe -- but as long as the SEC gives credentials to its football media days to guys who could not get credentials to the SEC Championship Game, silly things are going to happen.
Alabama had four first-team All-SEC offensive selections, two on the second team and one on the third. It had five All-SEC first team picks on defense and one each on the second and third teams.
Yes, yours truly absolutely voted Alabama to win the SEC West and SEC championship. After getting burned with the Auburn pick the year before, it was as easy to pick the Crimson Tide as it is to eat a Bradley County tomato.
The lone voter for Arkansas to win everything -- and it had to be someone credentialed to cover the event (and was not this newspaper's Bob Holt or Tom Murphy either) -- must have really been impressed that Frank Ragnow was named first-team All-SEC center and Austin Allen third-team quarterback.
Admittedly, your trusty scribe had Allen second team behind only Jalen Hurts of Alabama. Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald officially finished ahead of Allen by 19 total points.
For years, there was a guy who worked on the Ole Miss radio crew -- and if memory serves he was not an on-air person -- but he always voted for the Rebels to win the West and the SEC.
He was much ridiculed for that. He either didn't attend media days this year or saw the error of his ways.
Hopefully, the cheerleader who picked the Hogs will do one or the other in the future.
Arkansas was picked a distant fourth in the West behind Alabama, Auburn and LSU, and ahead of Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
As for a darkhorse (while it isn't likely they will finish first), the team to watch could be the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Mostly on the strength of Dan Mullen's coaching and picking the Hogs would have been homerish.
Sports on 07/16/2017
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